Darko Churlinov, Marcin Kaminski and Ko Itakura aiming to qualify for the World Cup

Five Schalke players have been selected to play for their countries for the upcoming international break. Three of those players, Darko Churlinov, Marcin Kaminski and Ko Itakura, are all looking to book their place in Qatar with their nations.

Ko Itakura

North Macedonia, who finished second in Group J behind Germany to qualify for the play-offs, will face Italy on Thursday (24/3). Should they defeat the reigning European champions in Palermo, they will take on the winners of the other semi-final between Portugal and Turkey in a straight shootout on Tuesday (29/3) to make the World Cup.

Marcin Kaminski

Kaminski back in the Poland squad

Marcin Kaminski has been called up by Poland for the first time in almost three years. They were drawn against Russia in their semi-final play-off, however since all Russian teams have been suspended by FIFA, Poland are automatically in the final. They will play the winner of Sweden and Czech Republic on Tuesday (29/3) for a place in Qatar. To prepare for that massive match, they will place Scotland in a friendly on Thursday (24/3).

Ko Itakura and Japan are second in their qualifying group, a position which would see them qualify for the World Cup, with two matchdays left. A win away to nearest rivals Australia on Thursday (24/3) would secure their place in Qatar, as they are three points clear of them currently. If they draw or lose, they would have another chance to qualify five days later when they host Vietnam (29/3).

Kosovo and Blendi Idrizi have two friendlies scheduled for this international break. Their first opponent is Burkina Faso on Thursday (24/3), before a trip to play Switzerland on Tuesday (29/3).

Calhanoglu selected for Germany U20s

Kerim Calhanoglu is in the Germany U20s squad for friendlies against Italy (24/3) and England (29/3). Malick Thiaw was also called up by a Germany youth side, though he has had to pull out of the U21s squad with a knee problem.


Kerim Calhanoglu
U20 friendlies
Italy – Germany, 24.3, 17:00, Ascoli Picono
England – Germany, 29.3, 20:30, Colchester

Darko Churlinov
World Cup qualification play-offs
Italy – North Macedonia, 24.3, 20:45, Palermo
If they beat Italy:
Winner of Portugal/Turkey – North Macedonia, 29.3, 20:45, venue TBD

Blendi Idrizi
Kosovo – Burkina Faso, 24.3, 18:00, Pristina
Switzerland – Kosovo, 29.3, 18:00, Zurich

Ko Itakura
World Cup qualifiers
Australia – Japan, 24.3, 10:10, Sydney
Japan – Vietnam, 29.3, 12:35, Saitama

Marcin Kaminski                             
Scotland – Poland, 24.3, 20:45, Glasgow
World Cup qualification play-off
Poland – Winner of Sweden/Czech Republic, 29.3, 20:45 CET, venue TBA

*all kick-off times CET


Share page

You may also be interested in


Kaminski celebrates World Cup qualification, Churlinov and North Macedonia miss out

Two Schalke 04 first-team players are experiencing mixed emotions – whilst Marcin Kaminski and Poland sealed their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday (29/3), Darko Churlinov was on the losing side with North Macedonia in their play-off final against Portugal. Elsewhere, Blendi Idrizi and Kerim Calhanoglu also featured for their national teams.


Darko Churlinov and North Macedonia's World Cup dream lives on after win over Italy

Darko Churlinov and North Macedonia secured a shock victory over European champions Italy in their World Cup play-off semi-final on Thursday (24/3). Kerim Calhanoglu got some game time for the Germany U20s, whilst Blendi Idrizi and Marcin Kaminski did not feature for their national teams. Here is a round-up of how the quartet has got on in international action this week.


Ko Itakura qualifies for the 2022 World Cup with Japan

Ko Itakura and Japan have booked their place in Qatar for the upcoming World Cup. The 25-year-old was part of the team that defeated Australia 2-0 on Thursday (24/3) away from home.


Ko Itakura on track for World Cup qualification, Dong-gyeong Lee already through

It was a successful Tuesday (1/2) for our two Royal Blues taking part in World Cup qualifying. Ko Itakura and new signing Dong-gyeong Lee were both victorious with their respective national teams. The final details of Lee’s transfer have also been resolved, meaning he is now officially part of the club.